“I've been surfing here for 10 years now and that was my best paddle wave.”
Earlier this week, Ireland's Conor Maguire paddled into a bomb at the Emerald Isle's favourite hell slab, just as the second of three back-to-back swells hit the shores of Western Europe.
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“I didn't think it was going to be as crazy as it was,” said Maguire. “I've been watching my friends push the limits out there and that's made me want to hang up the tow board and focus solely on paddling a big barrel out there. It's where the progression is going and I've had enough tow waves out there in my lifetime, so I’m happy to sacrifice a few days now and then.”
Ireland's had a bit of a mad season. November was nonstop, and while those gigantic, deep Atlantic swells bring waves, they also bring friends. Conor's been surfing with Tom Lowe, Gearoid McDaid, Russell Bierke, Ryan Watts and Nathan Florence. "They've all pushed me to dig a bit deeper," he said.
As for this wave: “The drop was steep but there were steps and boils coming out,” he said. “I had to go over two steps before I even got into the barrel. The last step actually set me up perfectly for the wave, because I got sucked up the face a little bit. I had to put all my weight downwards to ride out of it. That put me in the perfect spot to push me through the barrel.”
At this point, Conor knows what he wants under his feet. “The board's called the Hot Whisky,” he said. “Markie [Lascelles, head shaper of Cord Surfboards] and I dreamt it up late one night over hot whiskies. But the reality is, we've spent five years working on this board. And it is magic.”
The next step is simple in theory: “You dream of a wave like this,” he said. “There's definitely room to do better. It's just the start, I want to go even further. I'd really like to paddle a bigger barrel. There's bigger days out there and bigger waves.”
Stay tuned for more across Europe from this triple storm threat.
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